This is the first of a series of posts by our contributor Amy, where she shares fun and easy art projects that she does with her 5-year-old daughter, Sara. All of the homemade art projects are designed for and/or by Sara and are meant to be low cost (always), worth keeping/gifting (sometimes), and a manageable mess (never).
Art: Handprint Towel
Occasion: Valentine’s Day, though a perfect gift for any occasion
Level of Difficulty: 3 (Low)
Materials: Flower sack kitchen towel, red + blue fabric paint, potato stamp (requires potato & heart cookie cutter), paintbrush
We made this handprint towel with Sara’s pre-k class for Valentines’ Day last year and then her class this year had all new students so we got to do it again. For Sara’s classmates, we did the handprints at school and once they dried we took the towels home to add the hearts and wrap the towels up as gifts for the parents. They were such a hit!
Step 1: Handprint. Originally we bought pink and blue fabric paint and let the kids choose, but I think the blue handprint turned out better especially next to the red heart.
- Fold the towel into thirds and then in half.
- Iron if you need to.
- You are going to print the ‘front’ and the ‘back’ of the towel. So to start, un-half the towel, lay it out on a flat surface and place a piece of cardboard (or magazine, etc) between the towel layers so the paint doesn’t bleed through.
- Squeeze some blue fabric paint into a washable surface (a bowl, etc).
- Use a paintbrush to paint your child’s hand (palm up).
- Explain to him/her what you are doing as you go. It may tickle.
- Turn their hand over (tell them to keep their fingers spread open) and press their hand onto towel. Press each finger and then the palm down. Lift the hand up.
- Repeat on other half of towel.
- Let air dry (about 2 hours).
Step 2: Heart-print. We made a heart stamp out of a potato. You can see step-by-step how to do it here. Basically, you cut the potato in half, press the heart cookie cutter into the center of the potato and cut away the potato around the heart shape.
- Carve the heart stamp from the potato (see steps above).
- Paint the heart stamp with red fabric paint.
- Press heart stamp onto towel next to the handprint on both sides.
- Let air dry (about 2 hours).
Step 3: Add name & date. The child’s name & date can go anywhere. We used a thin black permanent marker and wrote it on the inside hem.
Step 4: Toss in the dryer. Heating fabric paint sets it. Once the paint is fully air dried, toss the towel into the dryer on high heat for about 30 minutes.
Step 5: Wrap. We like old school packaging of brown paper and my husband has some serious calligraphy skills. You can purchase a brown paper roll at any craft store (Michael’s, etc). It’s great to have on hand.
- Cut a large square out of brown paper (~1ftx1ft)
- Fold the handprint towel with the print face up and place in the center of the brown paper with a corner pointing up.
- Fold in the brown paper corners around the towel, each side corner first, then the bottom and then the top corner last (like an envelope).
- Fold the tip of the top corner under and double-sided tape to affix it.
- We signed the package from (child’s name) and decorated with a ‘made with love’ stamp (Target $1)
The best part about art like this, it only gets more loved as the years go by.